By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
More than $19,000 has been raised so far through Central Oregon Daily’s Redirect the Check program, and a $10,000 match is on the way from TDS, Central Oregon Daily’s parent company.
More than 45 donors have given some or all of their stimulus checks to help charities like Bethlehem Inn, an emergency shelter in Bend.
The funds also will be distributed to Central Oregon Veterans Outreach and NeighborImpact.
“Since the pandemic hit back in March, it has been a challenge for many people seeking shelter, help and hope,” Gwenn Wysling, executive director of Bethlehem Inn, said. “And that’s what we offer here.”
Wysling said they’ve seen a spike in demand for their services in the past several months, but they have less people than usual to help out, since they’ve paused volunteers to limit COVID-19 exposure.
“Bethlehem Inn has seen the need and the severity of the need really grow during the pandemic,” Wysling said. “The fact that we’re unable to use volunteers has been a real challenge for trying to get the same amount of work done.”
Centers for Disease Control social distancing rules have also complicated things. The homeless shelter is operating at around 50% guest capacity. Right now, they’re housing around six families and around 45 individuals.
The money they’ll receive from Redirect the Check will be a helpful boost, according to Wysling, as they often see a major lag in donations after the holidays.
“Approximately 80 cents on the dollar goes directly toward those that we’re serving,” Wysling said. “It is that immediate impact. You’re touching the lives of families and individuals.”
You can donate some or all of your stimulus check here.